SAFAL - Sustainable Agriculture, Forest and Land

The SAFAL programs aims to revitalize organic agricultural production and traditional knowledge that promotes environmental health, long-term economic sustainability, and gender equality in the Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh. By working closely with female farmers, we help women claim their identity as farmers and recognize their invaluable contributions to the local economy and their family’s self-sufficiency.

The SAFAL Team engages with 40 farmers groups, primarily consisting of women, in rural villages throughout the Kangra Valley. SAFAL connects farmers with information on agricultural subsidies, distribution of seeds, traditional seed preservation. Furthermore, SAFAL organizes a variety of demonstration events on organic practices such as making vermi-compost pits or various bio-pesticides. Furthermore, SAFAL operates a small, all-natural supply chain, GreenLeaf, which connects farmers in our “all-natural” farmer collective with a local consumer market. By purchasing produce at market price, typically 30-70% more per kg[1] than farmers otherwise receive, GreenLeaf strives to incentivize the production of organic produce and ease the transition from synthetic based agriculture to organic growing methods.

Green Revolution technology in Himachal Pradesh is largely characterized by hybrid seeds, and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Initially, the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers saw an exciting increase in production levels. With 70% of Himachal Pradesh[2] relying on agriculture as their primary livelihood, the potential to increase incomes and promote food security seemed vast. However, in recent years, farmers have begun reporting concerns over poor soil quality, changes in vegetables resistance to disease, and most recently, the lack of adaptability in the face of increasingly erratic weather patterns.

We at SAFAL strive to help farmers understand the importance of their work and produce to the local market, their ability to act autonomously using natural growing methods, and to develop a local agriculture system based on organic growing methods with an eye on long term ecological sustainability. We believe that by working with farmers to increase their agricultural skillset and knowledge, we are building a more adaptable and sustainable local food system allowing families to meet their nutritional needs while living in harmony with their surrounding ecology.

 

[1] Based on purchasing and sales records for Green Leaf produce between November 2013 and February 2014.
[2] "The Study on Diversified Agriculture for Enhanced Farm Income in the State of Himachal Pradesh." Activities in India. Japan International Cooperation Agency, n.d. Web. 03 May 2014.

 

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